About our research into Leukaemia

Dr Nicki Panoskaltsis

Dr Nicki Panoskaltsis leads a programme of research in leukaemogenesis, particularly focussed on the immune pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and the role of dendritic cells at disease presentation and in immune recovery following treatment. In studying leukaemia, she also conducts research in parallel on normal stem cells and haemopoiesis. Current projects include the study of haemopoietic stem cell "plasticity", the expansion of cord blood stem cells in normal and bioreactor cultures and the modeling and development of a novel three-dimensional culture system that mimics the normal and leukaemic bone marrow microenvironment in collaboration with Dr Athanasios Mantalaris (Department of Chemical Engineering).

Report to Richard Thomas Leukaemia Fund (RTLF)

October 2009 August 2010
Prepared by: Dr. Nicki Panoskaltsis
Senior Lecturer/Honorary Consultant
Department of Haematology
Imperial College London
Northwick Park & St. Mark's Hospital campus

This year, the RTLF has funded 2 scientists in the laboratory, Dr Teresa Mortera Blanco and Dr Maria Rende cost per month (salary with consumables for both) total around £8,000-10,000). Directly resulting from this funding are:

  • 1 publication
  • 2 oral presentations at major international meetings in 2009
  • 2 abstracts submitted to the largest international meeting for Haematologists, The American Society of Hematology (ASH) this year (Dec, 2010)
  • 6 manuscripts in progress to be submitted by end December, 2010 based on the "Making Blood" Project funded by the RTLF

Biological Systems Engineering Laboratory, Haematology Section:

Dr. Nicki Panoskaltsis - Principal Investigator and Section Leader
Professor Athanasios (Sakis) Mantalaris – Principal Investigator
Dr. Teresa Mortera Blanco – Post-Doctoral Scientist – (funded by RTLF)
Dr. Maria Rende – Post-Doctoral Scientist – (funded by RTLF)
Mr. Hugo Macedo – Researcher and PhD student
Dr. Osama Fallata – Medical Researcher and PhD student
Ms Lia Fauzi – Researcher and PhD student
Ms Serene Farah – Researcher and PhD student
Mr. Saiful Zubairi – Researcher and PhD student
Ms. Eleni Pefani – Researcher and PhD student

RTLF-funded Publications

RTLF funding acknowledged in publication)

1. The development of a three-dimensional scaffold for ex vivo biomimicry of human acute myeloid leukaemia. Teresa Mortera Blanco, Athanasios Mantalaris, Alexander Bismarck, Nicki Panoskaltsis. Biomaterials 2010: 31;2243-2251.

RTLF-Funded Oral and Poster Presentations 2009

RTLF funding acknowledged in presentation or on poster

1. Long-term in vitro cytokine-free and serum-free culture of human cord blood mononuclear cells in a three-dimensional scaffold. Teresa Mortera-Blanco, Alexander Bismarck, Athanasios Mantalaris, Nicki Panoskaltsis (Oral presentation, ASH December 2009).

2. A novel 3D hollow fibre reactor for the culture of human haematopoietic cells. Hugo M. Macedo, Maria Rende, Ines Baptista, Andrew G. Livingston, Nicki Panoskaltsis and Athanasios Mantalaris. (Poster Presentation, International Society of Experimental Hematology and Stem Cell Therapy- ISEH- September 2009).

3. Cytokine-free expansion of human cord blood mononuclear cells in a three-dimensional (3D) biomimicry. Teresa Mortera Blanco, Alexander Bismarck, Athanasios Mantalaris, Nicki Panoskaltsis (Poster Presentation, ISEH – September 2009).

4. Ex Vivo Expansion of Encapsulated Human Cord Blood (hCB) CD34+ Cells in a Rotating Wall Bioreactor. Kedong Song, Hugo M. Macedo, Nicki Panoskaltsis, Athanasios Mantalaris (Oral Presentation, ISEH – September 2009).

RTLF-Funded Abstract submissions to ASH, December 4/7/2010

1. Effects of Single-Agent, Low Dose Exogenous Erythropoietin in a Long-Term In Vitro Serum-Free 3D Culture of Human Cord Blood Mononuclear Cells for Directed Erythropoiesis. Teresa Mortera Blanco, Athanasios Mantalaris, Joseph Santiapillai, Alexander Bismarck, Nicki Panoskaltsis (accepted for oral presentation, Abstract #341)

2. Long-Term, Cytokine-Free Ex Vivo Expansion of Human Cord Blood Mononuclear Cells Using a Novel Closed-Loop 3D Dual Hollow Fibre Perfused Bioreactor. Maria Rende, Hugo Macedo, Andrew G. Livingston, Kang Li, Nicki Panoskaltsis, and Athanasios Mantalaris (accepted for oral presentation, Abstract #828)

The funding climate is still difficult in the financial crisis of the last year and the support provided by the RTLF is critical to ensuring that this cutting edge research continues. The successful progress of the "Making Blood" and "Leukaemia culture" models means that we are able to take the projects to the next stage, necessitating consumable expenditure in antibodies and growth factors. Recognition of the work by the American Society of Haematology in 2009 and 2010 (by selection for oral presentation at the annual meeting – an honour to be chosen as being in the top 10% of submitted abstracts) indicates that the work has reached the stage of translation into medical use and is at a critical stage of development over the next 3 years. We are grateful to the RTLF for continued support in any form. We are currently in need of salary support and consumables for 2 scientists (~£50,000 each p.a.), straightforward consumable support for the projects to continue (~£25,000-£30,000 p.a.) and equipment for the laboratory.

If you feel in anyway you would like to contribute in any way please visit see the donate page

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